Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Words for this Mother's Struggle {Thank you, Mr. Lewis.}

My friend Christe shared this on Facebook this morning-- and it organized my thoughts for me.

"God wants in us a child's heart, but a grown-up's head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim." C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Write that one down somewhere.

This mother’s struggle--- to connect with my kids’ hearts in a way that speaks love to them while I use all that God has made me to be---  my personality, my strengths, my weaknesses, my education, my past, the many lessons learned, what’s stored in my heart, my mind.....  I think eradicating some things that stem from list would be helpful, even making parenting easier but I trust that He redeems and uses it all as the picture of Julia and Brighton ~and even myself~ come to focus.

Simple.  I don’t want to have a complicated life and by that, I think I mean a complicated schedule.  And honestly, it doesn’t take much for me for the calendar to seem tricky.  Saturday morning, Julia asked me what time was ballet rehearsal.  I think I was mopping {my least favorite house chore} and I told her when I thought it was but I’d check in a bit.  I never thought of it again.  I went out shopping for Mother’s Day gifts.  Julia remembered at some point and Jeff got her there..... late.  Oh, I had a myriad of things on my mind and been thrown a couple a couple of curve balls that landed later in the day, but I was not accomplishing much.  I guess I just shut down.  I don’t want “complicated” to be a word my kids use to describe their childhood.  Nor rushed.  Nor busy.  I prefer simple.  A very short list.  All going in one car.  Nights free.  Time to be with each other.  I should ask my kids what “simple” means to them.

Single- minded.   This reminds me of simple but I think how wonderful it would be if when I was dealing with the bad behavior of one child, I could be completely focused on the heart of that one child.  Single- minded about how my words and reactions will affect them.  Single- minded about the life lesson that can be learned here.  Instead, my mind is branched out like limbs into categories like:  wasted time, how many times have we gone over this, this interrupts what I was doing, who is that text from I hear dinging and  I can’t forget to return that email.  Not. Single. Minded.  But what a challenge!  Focus on the child.  Block the rest out knowing that your focus on the child and his heart is never wasted time.

Affectionate.  If you’ve ever heard of Dr. Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages, you know this is one of them.  This one is not in my top 3.  I live with 3 people that it’s either their #1 or #2.  If you are an affectionate person, then, this is not big deal.  If you aren’t, you get my “Are you serious?!?” response.  I had to breathe a sigh of relief when I read that Ann Voskamp put on her “Mom Manifesto” to touch each child as many times as she feeds them.  She has a lot of kids so that’s a lot of touching but it reminded me that this affection doesn’t come naturally for everyone.  She put it on a list!  Oh, but my kids EAT IT UP!!  I’ve been more aware just recently as they have expressed verbally their desire for it and they do just....... can’t think of a better word.... BLOOM..... flourish under my hugs, rubs on the back, kisses, or even just a ruffle of the hair.  Brighton let me know he’d like me to touch him every time I walked by him.  In our close quarters right now, I walk by him a zillion times a day.  I can try.  Affection.  It does their hearts good.

Teachable.  Can we just eat that word?  Would that work?  Serve it up for dinner?  This quality is HIGH on my list.  Might just tie for the #1 spot.  Great things can happen to teachable children..... and teachable parents.  I’ve tried to seize these younger years making sure their concrete is chock full of life building stuff.  As the structure goes up from the foundation, I want them to always be learning, always be a student--- to have that heart that KNOWS it has far to go, but confident enough to live out what they’ve already been taught.  And when they OWN the life building process, that being teachable would mark their lives.  Our kids are ever changing and so should our parenting be.  We learn from the Word, mentors, books but most importantly by studying our children.  No one should know them better than we do.

Alert.  I love that Mr. Lewis uses the word “alert”.  Maybe because it reminds me of passages of the Bible that warn us to be on the look out for the evil one-- the stealer, the killer, the destroyer.  It usually says, “Be alert and of sober mind!”
Definition:  quick to notice any unusual and potentially dangerous or difficult circumstances
Synonyms:  vigilant - nimble - watchful - agile - wary - wakeful
Great words to describe parents.  This job doesn’t end and there are no true breaks right now, nor should there be, really.  The enemy knows how exhausted we are and how we do want to just escape or shut it all off for a while.  Fight it.  With all you’ve got.  We can’t shield them from everything but we can know what’s happening {watchful} and be there with them to help them if they need us.  Being alert means we will be engaged-- not allowing ourselves to be blindsided.


I don’t have to tell you that we don’t have them long. The concrete is drying. And the Lord is our Helper.

I am pressing on with you.

1 comment:

Patti said...

This is excellent, and JUST what I needed to read today. I am also a "non-affectionate" surrounded by those who need it. When I feed them! What a great idea...